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I simply love details.  All too often, we race through our daily lives – our traffic jams and our lattes – and we miss the tiny elements that form the world around us.  How often are you caught by surprise when all the trees around you are suddenly awash in autumn colors, never noticing the initial hints of transition?  Do you remember the color of your toothbrush?  Do you actually know all of the lyrics to your favorite song?

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

When I was a kid, my sister would read to me all the time.  At some point, she read Sherlock Holmes.  I don’t really remember much from the stories, as mysteries were never quite to my taste, but one part stuck with me, an exchange about the number of steps leading to Holmes’s room.  Despite having traversed them countless times, Watson fails to recall how many steps there are.  Of course, Sherlock knows the precise number (17) and remarks that this is the difference between seeing and observing.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

While I often forget the color of my toothbrush this month, and though I couldn’t tell you the number of stairs leading to my apartment, I observe details others frequently miss.  I know Mochi has a few stray white hairs right in the center of the swath of black on her back.  I pick out individual instruments and harmonic lines in a song.  And I lose myself photographing tiny pieces when some can only see the whole.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

Most of our Tarcoles River tour had us at quite a distance from the wildlife, so I was lucky to be able to fill the frame, let alone focus on any minutiae.  But on a couple of occasions, we did get quite close to the crocodiles.  Talk about details!

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

From ridges on their backs to scales on their haunches, there was so much to observe.  Just looking at the pictures now, I can almost feel the leathery textures, the pixels almost tactile.

Interestingly enough, the one thing I didn’t focus on was their teeth.  There were so many other more interesting details to take in.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

Now, I’m certainly no Sherlock Holmes; plenty of things still slip by me.  I liked the simple pattern of the scales in this picture.  I fully edited it.  But it wasn’t until I was about to upload it that I even noticed the fly (a perfect addition to the scene, I might add).  Ironic that I had already selected it for a post on my ability to see details.  That just goes to show even I could be more observant.

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  1. Back in the days of film I did underwater photography with a macro set up, and when I’d later do a slide show for the dive club the folks who were off chasing fish with a spear would say, “I’ve never seen that.” Same spot, different perspectives. The world gets more interesting when you look for the small stuff too.

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